Vice President Learning and Community

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United States

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The Opportunity:
Shedd Aquarium seeks an experienced Vice President Learning and Community. This position provides the vision, strategic direction and leadership to ensure all programs within the department carry out the Aquarium’s mission and strategic plan, are coordinated and communicated both internally and externally, and meet institutional goals and budgets.  As a member of the Aquarium’s leadership team, the Vice President Learning and Community contributes to organization-wide planning, goal setting and policy direction.

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values. 
  • Oversee Learning with Shedd Program Strategy: School/Teacher, Youth, Teen/Tween, Adult and Guest.
  • Work collaboratively with internal stakeholders on institutional integration of Learning with Shedd.
  • Supervise and support the managers of the department to accomplish departmental and institutional goals.  Foster and support staff professional development, job satisfaction, retention and individual growth.
  • Act as a creative and entrepreneurial catalyst for the Education Department and the Aquarium, exploring and producing ideas for new education opportunities, partnerships and programs. 
  • Develop, maintain and nurture strategic relationships with community organizations, schools, cultural institutions, universities, other museums and the general public.
  • Establish relationships with social agencies and create and oversee a Shedd Community Advisory Council.
  • Involve education staff in the design and use of technology to advance learning.
  • Manage the collection of data from and about visitors to measure learning and document the impact of learning programs.
  • Support and facilitate interdepartmental planning to integrate the needs of the various communities into Shedd activities. 
  • Be an effective and contributing member of the senior management team responsible for institution-wide planning, goal setting and policy direction.  Participate on Aquarium-wide teams and collaborate effectively with other Aquarium departments and projects.
  • In collaboration with members of the department, develop annual budgets and ensure that income targets are met and expenses are kept within budget.  Work to assure programs are accessible to all participants.  Prepare periodic budget revisions and other financial reports.
  • Serve in an advisory capacity for recruiting and maintaining diverse staff members and devise scholarship, mentorship and other programs that will interest and ultimately place culturally diverse students in science and museum related careers.
  • Represent the Aquarium and its education commitment on a local, state and national level.  Cultivate and maintain relationships with the educational community, community partners, governmental, conservation, cultural and zoological organization.
  • Model effective leadership practices and institutional values, and hold direct reports responsible for doing the same.
  • In coordination with other departments, prepare and deliver written and oral grant solicitation to secure funding for educational programs.
  • Regularly assess staff performance and the department’s progress in meeting short-term and long-range objectives.


  • Master’s degree in education, a natural science or conservation field preferred.
  • Seven to ten years of experience in a senior management position at an institution (preferably a not-for-profit), in the education, communications or conservation field.  Experience in a museum or non-profit strategic planning and management.
  • Outstanding leadership, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. 
  • Ability to motivate and inspire interdisciplinary teams to accomplish highly creative work. 
  • Strong personal commitment to the Aquarium’s mission and to serving the public.
  • Be knowledgeable on current learning and evaluation pedagogy as it related to industry standards, trends and innovations.

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